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Tummy time is basically designed to do two things—help make your baby’s body strong and make her cry. (Question: Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching your baby cry on the floor? Answer: No.) The unfamiliar—and limiting—position can be upsetting to tiny tots, often resulting in tears. But experts say it’s an important way to strengthen the neck and upper body muscles, plus help her learn how to roll and crawl. Here, seven easy tricks to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby (and for you).  

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Baby boy on the floor doing tummy time with toys
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Make sure your baby isn’t hungry
This will ensure that your baby is more comfortable (and less cranky). Same rules apply for sleepiness levels. Just wait about an hour or so after a meal for tummy time in order to avoid spit-ups.

Keep your baby company
It can be scary hanging out on the floor all by yourself (especially when you can’t really lift your head up to see what’s going on). Keep your baby distracted and entertained by joining her on the floor and playing with her by pulling silly faces, singing and generally encouraging her.

Cute baby lying on his tummy on the floor
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Check the area
Nobody likes an ice-cold floor so double check that it’s not too chilly, or hot for that matter. (Some parents find that tummy time works best when babies are just in their diapers.) Ditto for an itchy or slippery slippery surface. Bottom line: Experiment with a few different areas to see what works best.

Try a massage
You’re not the only one who enjoys a rubdown. Try gently massaging your baby’s back, legs and arms during tummy time to see if it can help him feel more relaxed.

Cute baby girl enjoying tummy time and smiling
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Use props
Does your tot have a favorite stuffed animal? Place Bobo the elephant on the floor and within reach. Or you could try investing in a toy specifically designed for tummy time with plenty of fun distractions like sounds and mirrors.

Be the floor
Spending time on mom’s belly (tummy to tummy!) or chest is so much better than being stuck on the floor. And your baby will still get all those muscle-building benefits. Just make sure that you have some surface area around you so that your babe can’t roll off.

Take it slow
Your baby doesn’t have to lie on her belly for 15 minutes right away. Start with one- to two-minute increments a couple of times per day and then work your way up from there.

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